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Focus on Regulation

FTC Obtains Multi-Million Dollar Settlement Against Marketer of Fitness Gear

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has obtained a $25 million settlement against the marketers of the Ab Circle Pro, an abdominal exercise device, for alleged deceptive advertising.  According to the Commission, the defendants, including Fitness Brands, Inc. and Fitness Brands International, Inc., falsely promised that a three-minute workout with the Ab Circle Pro was the equivalent of 30 minutes of abs or cardio or 100 sit ups, and that just three minutes a day with the device would lead to weight loss of 10 pounds in two weeks.

The settlement represents FTC’s third enforcement action in a one-year period against marketers of a fitness product making weight loss claims.  The consent order requires the defendants to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate any future fat-, inch-, or weight-loss claims.  This substantiation standard is less prescriptive than that required in FTC’s settlements with Reebok and Sketchers regarding footwear promoted to help customers lose weight and shape muscles.  In those cases, FTC required one or two well-controlled human clinical studies to substantiate weight loss claims.  The Ab Circle Pro settlement indicates FTC’s continued interest in combating alleged deceptive advertising in the area of weight-loss claims.